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Michigan vs. Iowa live observations after four quarters

The Wolverines look to answer a major question about themselves on homecoming.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan football took on Iowa in its homecoming game on Saturday. Here are our observations throughout the contest.

First quarter

  • We saw a new wrinkle out of the offense to start with a speed option from Shea Patterson to Zach Charbonnet to start the game.
  • The defense came up with a big play right off the bat on a fumble forced by Joshua Uche that gave the Wolverines the ball in prime position to convert inside the redzone, but the offense sputtered out and had to settle for three points. Good football teams convert in those situations, but free points are free points.
  • Michigan’s interior offensive line gave up two quick pressures in five dropbacks to start the contest. Those guys have to hold up and be better. After that, the OL started to settle in and was moving guys off the ball, which is something we have not seen consistently this season and something people questioned about them all week leading up to the game. It was a good to see early on.
  • This will shock you, but good things happen when you chuck the ball up to Nico Collins and let him make a play. A 51-yard jump ball from Patterson to his wideout set up a Michigan touchdown drive to helped setup the touchdown drive that put the Wolverines up 10-0.
  • The turnover bug got into both of these teams late in the first quarter with fumbles on two-straight plays by the Wolverines that they recovered. The third play was a Patterson interception that he simply stared down. Iowa QB Nate Stanley returned the favor a few plays later.
  • Michael Dwumfour is so critical to the interior of the defensive line. He was blowing people up throughout the first half. Michigan also was giving the business to Alaric Jackson, a first round NFL talent, early on as well. Same goes for Jon Runyan Jr. on AJ Epenesa on the other side of the ball.

Second quarter

  • Kwity Paye’s resurgence has been really fun to watch and the Michigan defensive line as a whole came to play on Saturday. This has by far been their best showing of the season to this point.
  • The mesh concepts and crossing routes continue to haunt the Michigan defense. We talk about it every single week and it does not really change. Here and there, they might do a good job on a given play, but teams continue to take the Wolverines’ lunch money over the middle of the field.
  • Patterson is, he’s been so uninspiring outside of the Rutgers game. He does not process things quickly enough and holds onto the ball too long. It feels like he has reached his ceiling in the Michigan offense barring some sort of development. The thing of it is, there might not be a guy there to truly replace him, especially if McCaffrey is out. His second half will tell a lot about if there’s anything left.
  • Some of the playcalling, including Zach Charbonnet running out of the wildcat and screens backed up to your own endzone seem to support the idea that Michigan does not fully trust its quarterback.
  • The clock management in two-minute drill situations continues to leave a ton to be desired. It seems like they felt at the end of the half they were happy with the lead and didn’t want to chance a mistake or momentum killing play from their signal-caller.
  • Michigan owes its defense a non-alcoholic beverage or two for the way they played in the first half. Forcing a pair of turnovers has kept the Hawkeyes from taking advantage of the offensive woes.

Third quarter

  • Iowa opened the second half using Michigan’s aggressiveness on defense against them, but the Wolverines finally guarded a crossing route on textbook coverage by Daxton Hill, who tipped a pass to Ambry Thomas to force Iowa’s third interception of the day. His rise continues to be impressive and is making a play for more playing time.
  • The offense is bad from top to bottom. What else do you want me to say?

Fourth quarter

  • Michigan started to move the ball on a drive where they made an effort to get the football to Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black and Nico Collins. However, their positive decision making did not pay off and it led to a missed field goal from Jake Moody.
  • This defense played its best game of the year. Questions about that group’s physicality and ability to fight and make plays have been answered since the Wisconsin game. Hats off to performances from Hill, Jordan Glasgow, Kwity Paye and the whole gang.
  • Michigan’s defense again showed late in the game that it was not going to break like it did a few weeks back. Not only that, they damn near won the football game on their own. A seriously awesome and terrific effort by Don Brown and his guys.
  • Cam McGrone has not been perfect, but he is pretty clearly one of the best 11 players on defense right now. Things will get interesting at linebacker when Josh Ross returns.
  • The offense is more of a concern than we ever thought it would be. This late in the year, that is horrifying.